House fires are more common than you may think. According to FEMA, there are 1.24 million house fires in the U.S. in 2013. The good news is that is down more than 20 percent from a decade earlier. Those fires did about $11.5 billion dollars in damage.
It is daunting to know that house fires can occur at any moment, and they tend to increase during the fall and winter season, with January being a peak month. It’s highly likely that you have come across someone who has been affected by a house fire – big or small. Even a small fire on the kitchen stove can cause extensive smoke damage that can affect the entire home and can take months to repair.
Two leading causes of residential house fires in the United States, and how you can prevent them.
On average, cooking fires have been responsible for close to 50% of the house fires that occur every year. Our day-to-day lives can become hectic and overwhelming. It can be tempting to turn the stove on and walk away, focusing on other tasks that need to be done while the water boils, the chicken bakes, or the vegetables sauté. Unfortunately, walking away often results in losing track of time or forgetting you have something on the stove or in the oven completely. Some homeowners have even left the house while cooking something on the stove.
Staying attentive when you are cooking can go along way in preventing fire damage and smoke damage to your home. When you are cooking, it is crucial that you are alert and pay attention to what you are doing. Avoid the temptation to multitask.
What to do if a fire does break out in the kitchen:
- If a grease fire breaks out, do not throw water on it. Put a lid on top the fire to smother it.
- If a fire breaks out in the oven turn the oven off. Keep in mind that oxygen fuels fire, so keep the oven door closed until the fire runs out of fuel.
- If you are unable to put out the fire, contact your local fire department as soon as possible.
Wood burning stoves and space heaters are responsible for close to 13% of the house fire that occurs every year. Wood burning stove and fireplaces are becoming more popular as of late. Both can be fire hazards if not maintained properly. Make sure your chimney is clear of debris before starting a fire. Keep any flammable objects away from the wood burning stove and fireplace, and never throw away ashes that are not completely cooled. Lastly, do not leave your fireplace or wood burning stove unattended.
If you are using a space heater make sure the heater is safe and updated. Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the heater. Make sure you turn off the space heater when you leave the room and turn it down when you go to sleep (you may want to turn it off completely if possible). For plugin heaters, make sure the power outlet has sufficient wattage to handle running the space heater, the last thing any homeowner needs is an electrical fire.
While we’ve talked about the top two, there are several other things that cause house fires. Nearly 7 percent result from electrical malfunctions; 6 percent result in carelessness; 2 percent result in someone smoking.
If your home has suffered from fire damage, large or small, contact your local fire damage cleanup experts as soon as possible! Mammoth Restoration specializes in fire damage cleanup in the Huntington area. Our certified team has a thorough understanding of how structures and items react to heat, smoke, and fire.